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The Mind's Eye
NORTH ADAMS STATE COLLEGE
The Mind's Eye ts a journal ot review and comment
published monthly during the college year
at North Adams, Massachusetts 01247
W Anthony Gengarelly
Stephen A. Green
R, Michael Haines
Charles A. Mc Isaac
Thomas A. Mulkeen
Charles A. Mclsaac
Richard C. Lamb
Samuel H. Clarke
John T. McNulty 6
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF OFFICE
What a new mayor finds out in two months
FREEDOM AND THE WILL
The connection between language learning
THE STUDY OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
IN THE GENERAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM
Knowledge of the Western tradition
is indispensable to a life well lived
Arnold Bartini 7 THE SENSES OF CHILDHOOD
REVIEWS & NOTES
HEATING UP WITH CARBON DIOXIDE
Consumption of fossil fuels and forests
may threaten life on earth
Charles A. Mclsaac
3 The Editor's File
HUNTING: ANOTHER VIEW
With a Reply by Michael Haines
The Mind's Eye welcomes contributions. Your research, comment,
reflections, reviews, letters, poetry, fiction are invited.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF PUBLIC OFFICE
by Richard C. Lamb
Editor's note: Richard C. Lamb is the
youngest mayor in the history of North
Adams. The Mind's Eye invited him to
describe his initial feelings as chief
executive of the city.
It is different than it seems — this job
of being mayor. There clearly is less
glamor and more work, fewer far-reaching
decisions, more attention to detail.
It is interesting and challenging,
sometimes frustrating, usually fun, but
always unpredictable. That unpredicta-
bility, the subtle element of surprise,
surfaces constantly and produces the
ultimate fascination of the job.
Industrial development, downtown revital-
ization, and the budget appear initially
as the central issues; but, comes a winter
storm, and all else pales to insignifi-
cance before the all-encompassing concern
for snow removal. Legions of phone calls,
finally reducing to lectures on civic
responsibilities, fail to produce a chair-
man for the Traffic Commission; but the
office is barraged with applications for
the dog officer's position.
Lessons in the unpredictable are coupled
with less palatable exercises in
bureaucracy. Government takes time — it's
axiomatic, and everyone knows it. It
doesn't make it any easier to take.
A new half-million-dollar shredder at the
landfill is ready to go on line, but
start-up is threatened by the injured
cries of a state environmental control
agency. The mayor dutifully responds that
project approval was won only after an
environmental review so exhaustive that
it did everything but count the barn
swallows. His protests are in vain. They
lead only to ominous talk of "taking it
to the Attorney General." So turns the
Criticism abounds, but it is tinged with
humor and loaded with irony. A walk down
Main Street to a midafternoon negotiating
session at the School Department elicits
a passing comment, "Nice hours if you can
get them." In contrast, working late
with light burning for all to see seems
admirable enough, but the interpretation
is not so kind: "The kid can't handle it.
He's back every night catching up."
Two campaign supporters are appointed to
a prestigious committee of nine, and
cries of patronage and political payoff
resound. One loyal follower remains
without a post and complains bitterly
about the sin of forgetting old friends
in a hurry.
Failure to upbraid publicly a department
head for speaking out against an
administration position leads to charges
of weak leadership. Mere mention,
politely phrased, of the possibility of
a merger with a neighboring town
produces instant murmurs of Napoleonic
At times, it seems hard to win.
What then does a new mayor learn in two
months on the job? He learns to sign his
name with a new-found flare — partly
because he does it so often and partly
to conceal the rather indicting fact that
he is not always sure what he is signing.
He learns, very quickly, to say no. He
develops a new sense of humility. If he
doesn't, he should — because he is
reminded of the propriety of same every
day by many people in many ways.
The much acclaimed "perks" of office are
few in number and lacking in any real
appeal. The highly touted honeymoon
period is an absolute fallacy. Notes of
congratulation devolve quickly into
sarcastic, stinging diatribes. The job
is tough and perplexing, demanding and
This new mayor loves every minute of it.
The Editor ' s File
HUNTING: ANOTHER VIEW
by Charles A. Mc Isaac
Behind our house fifty acres of pasture
slope gently up to the woods where deer
live. For fifty weeks of the year it is
a peaceable place. The foxes and hawks
go about their timeless task of
controlling the mouse population, as does
our cat, who thinks the meadow belongs to
him — or did, until the fox chased him out
of there one day. In spring and summer
evenings the deer come out to feed,
staying well away from the house until
after dark; in fall nights they jump the
fence to eat apples in our yard.
Startled by headlights turning into the
driveway, they take off in great bounds,
white tails flying. They are an elegant,
Then comes November and hunting season.
On its first day, 1977, I sat at the
breakfast table reading, "unhearing" the
flat splatting of rifle fire (gunshots
don't ring), telling myself that only one
hunter in ten gets "his" deer and that
the herd is too large anyhow and needs to
be thinned out for its own good. Not
enough food to go around. Suddenly there
was a shot which, it too slowly dawned on
me, was closer than the others. I looked
out the window. A hundred yards above
the house stood two orange-suited hunters.
Directly between me and them, not thirty
feet from the fence was a wounded deer,
all his grace and glory gone, almost
slinking — if you can imagine a deer
slinking — toward death. More shots came
from the orange suits. The deer hobbled
an agonizing hundred yards before one put
him down, with a repulsive convulsion, by
the brook from which he had daily drunk.
Not dead yet, head up, he gazed around
seeming to wonder. Barbara wept; I choked
back an angry lump of rage and sorrow.
Two more slugs, sending up sprays from the
damp ground, ricocheted across the well-
traveled road. The third entered the
lovely head, and the deer was gone from
this world. The men in orange had their
buck; it had required ten shots: two
crippling, one fatal, seven wild. Not to
mention how many were wasted running the
deer out of the woods and a quarter of a
mile down the pasture, for it turned out
that there were not two orange suits but
The image of that noble animal's
submitting to insult would not leave me
for weeks, evoking a pain of outrage and
helpless pity in my heart. Time heals
all wounds, but the scar tissue from this
one will remain, a permanent memento of
What is hunting? For some it is a
necessary annual rite, a mystical
experience, a democracy of all manner of
men from statesmen to mechanics
ineluctably drawn to a pursuit as old as
mankind. Each fall, their employers
suffer their week's absence in
For others, hunters whose families
struggle in modest circumstances, the
animal's meat is a necessity of life; and
they should have a longer season.
Several hundred dollars' worth of venison
is not only a boon to their tables but
makes a difference in the clothing and
education of their children. But what
Solomon will judge who is needful and who
In the case of far too many more, hunting
is a week's macho bash for Clockwork
Orange invaders, beer can litterers,
shoo t-at-any thing- that-moves nuts —
killers of cows, pets, and people —
trigger-happy Americans, seven-day lords
of the world. What will conscientious
hunters do about them? What can they do?
They are outnumbered.
It is a fact of history that hunters —
Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot
preeminent among them — were prime movers
in the conservation movement. Hunters
were instrumental in the Hounding of the
National Audubon Society, the National
Wildlife Federation, and the Nature
Conservancy. In recent years, pressure
from sports fishermen has been a
principal cause of the cleanup of some
Midwest waterways, including parts of
badly polluted Lake Michigan.
Nevertheless, times have changed, and the
conservation ethic has moved from game-
species preservation to an ecosystem
orientation. This is a new ball game
based on scientific principles only dimly
recognized at the beginning of the
century. The degeneration of
recreational hunting into a shoot-' em-up
ethos has brought the whole hunting
community into conflict with a growing
social discernment that not only is it
morally wrong to slaughter animals for
pleasure, but that indiscriminate killing
( vide the eagle, falcon, wolf, coyote,
whale, dolphin) upsets the balance of
nature and, in any case, Is a rupture of
the solidarity of earthly species of
which man is a member. Subsistence
hunting remains a necessity in certain
places and circumstances, as does the
rare instance of self-defense. Apart
from these, satisfaction of the urge to
kill a lesser being runs counter to a new
conservation ethic. Man, the most highly
evolved of earth's creatures, must take
responsibility for the welfare of all his
brothers, lest his own technological
achievements wipe them from the face of
the earth, leaving the planet untenable
as a place to live.
Michael Haines, whose article
"On Hunting" in the October/November
Mind ' s Eye inspired the editor's
disparate view, replies.
After describing a particularly brutal
death (in World War I) , Wilfred Owen
quotes Horace's "dulce et decorum est pro
patria mori" (it is sweet and becoming to
die for one's country), which he calls
"the Old Lie." Owen was not unpatriotic:
he went on to give up his own life for
his country. His point was, simply, that
death is not sweet and becoming.
And that would be the first point I would
make in response to Charles Mclsaac:
death is not pretty — ever. Some may be
less brutal than others, and slobs like
Mclsaac 's orange-suited monsters
can, in their incompetence, make death
especially ugly. But I wonder — how many
would continue to eat hamburger if they
witnessed a steer's death in a
Besides, that deer which died so brutally
before the angry eyes of Mclsaac
and the weeping eyes of his wife did have
a chance. How much chance did the steer
have? From the moment he was born he was
destined for the table — never allowed the
privilege of roaming free, never being
given an opportunity to escape the
inevitable, and suffering the final
indignity of being crowded into a feeder
lot to be fattened before entering the
Who, I would ask, is the more brutal, the
more callous — the man who accepts the
predator niche evolution has carved out
for him, who recognizes his place at the
end of the food chain, who kills his own
meat? or is it the man who, like Pilate,
washes his hands and lets the slaughter-
house do his killing for him and thereby
claims no responsibility, claims a
specious moral superiority?
Before we leave the subject of brutal
deaths, let me suggest that those who
think the downing of a deer by a rifle is
ugly should see a deer who has starved
because the food supply was insufficient
to support a herd whose ranks were not
thinned by hunters. Or, a deer so
weakened by hunger that he could not
escape the dogs of those unthinking people
who refuse to restrain their animals.
Or, a deer torn apart on a highway because
hunger forced him nearer to danger than
he would customarily go. And it is the
concern Mclsaac mentioned for a
balanced ecosystem that makes us so aware
of the utter necessity for hunting in an
ecology without other predators.
But, I will concede, there are slobs in
the sport — as there are slobs everywhere
(I would not argue for the elimination of
sex because there are rapists,
pornographers, and insensitive bed-
hoppers), and no one hates the slob hunter
more than the hunter who loves his sport.
Finally, though it might be hard for
nonhunters to understand, there are few
who love game animals more than those who
hunt them: the kill Is not without its
twinges of remorse, its ambivalences.
Perhaps the attitude is best expressed by
a prayer addressed by an Indian hunter to
I am sorry I had to kill thee, Little
But I had need of thy meat. . . .
I will do honor to thy courage, thy
strength, and thy beauty.
See, I will hang thy horns upon this
tree. . . .
Each time I pass, I will remember thee
and do honor to thy spirit.
I am sorry I had to kill thee.
Forgive me, Little Brother. . . .
HEATING U P WITH CARBOK DIOXIDE
Carbon dioxide is a trace atmospheric gas
whose importance is twofold: as a regula-
tor (by trapping the sun's energy) of the
earth's temperature and as the basis (by
photosynthesis) of all terrestrial life.
One of its sources is the combustion of
fossil fuels. In the energy debate, warn-
ings frequently appear that use of coal
will put too much carbon dioxide into the
air, disrupting the climate by raising the
earth's temperature. The actual case may
be even worse. Fossil fuel burning gives
only half of carbon dioxide production.
The other half comes chiefly from the for-
ests of the world which, instead of being
sinks for CO2, are now known to be net
producers. And they are increasing in
output as we cut them down for agricul-
ture, industry, and housing. By the year
2020 the air's content of C0 2 will have
doubled and we may very well be facing
catastrophic climatic and social changes.
The problem is explained by George M.
Woodwell in "The Carbon Dioxide Question,"
(Scientific Am erican , January) .
FREEDOM AND TH E HILL
by Samuel H. Clarke
Editor's note: During winter Study,
1978, a lecture series, "The Idea of
Freedom," was presented weekly. Professor
Clarke here records some thoughts on the
psychological meaning of human freedom.
Gordon Liddy is said to have demonstrated
his personal freedom for action by
keeping his fingers in a flame. While
most of us would hesitate to hold a
candle to this kind of achievement, we
are conscious of human ability to act in
ways contrary to the immediate reinforce-
ments and punishments that would
otherwise control our behavior. Recog-
nition of this ability tempts us to put
the matter of personal choice beyond the
reach of a strict scientific determinism.
On the other hand, a belief in Darwinian
evolution causes us to look for its
explanation in the continuum of species.
A good place to start is the relatively
recent work on language learning with
chimpanzees begun in 1966 by Allen and
Beatrice Gardner. Aware of previous
failures to teach chimps a vocal language,
the Gardners trained their first animal,
Washoe, to use the American Sign Language.
Basic signs in this language are called
cheremes and are analogous to phonemes in
spoken language. Some of these cheremes
are associated with configurations of the
hands, others with the place relative to
the rest of the body that a sign is made,
and still others with movements of the
Washoe and the other chimps who soon
joined in this research proved to be
remarkably adept students. Although many
raisins were needed to keep motivation
levels high at the beginning, a gradually
increasing requirement that the chimps
sign for goals important to themselves
(getting various kinds of food, being
tickled, etc.) resulted in the language
becoming an important part of their
behavioral repertoires. New signs came
to be learned through imitation; pairs
and triplets of signs were put together
in novel combinations. Lucy coined the
expressions "cry-hurt-food" for radishes
and "drink-fruit" for watermelons.
Not only did the chimps learn both to
give and to follow instructions; they
spontaneously learned to combine these
abilities in the control of their own
behavior. Washoe is in a room by herself.
Before her on the floor lies, upside
down, a Bella Abzug hat. The chimp signs
to herself, "Washoe-in-hat . " She then
dives head first into the crown of the
hat. Thus an even artificially acquired
capacity for language takes some control
The human capacity for self-control is
also a consequence of language learning.
As neurologically normal children, we
sooner or later learned to follow verbal
instructions. Soon after, we extended
this knowledge to the use of instructions
as a means of controlling the behavior of
others. Once acquired, these two
abilities combine in the control of our
Our consciousness of having the capacity
for this kind of control is the basis
for our sense of having a personal will.
That it functions as well as it does in
the face of adverse contingencies makes
it easy to believe that one's will is
somehow free. This apparent freedom is
probably the result of culturally
controlled child rearing practices.
Supported by religious and other insti-
tutions, parents at least partially
convince their children that someone
(God, Santa Claus, et al.) knows every
thought. Good thoughts, more or less
clearly identified, are carefully
associated with real and imagined
rewards; evil thoughts are conversely
associated with punishments — sometimes
eternal. Fortunately, as children
mature, moral imperatives based on magi-
cal thinking slowly give way to ethical
considerations based on conceptual
knowledge regarding long-term conse-
quences of behavior. Smoking stops being
something you just don't do and becomes
something that gives you lung cancer.
The outcome is the emergence of two
relatively independent and often
conflicting kinds of behavioral control.
There is the control, which we share with
other animals, imposed on behavior by its
immediate consequences. And there is the
kind of control which results from the
moral conditioning of a personal will.
The existence of this will and our
relative freedom from the otherwise
absolute tyranny of immediate behavioral
consequences is based on the cultural
development of our biological capacity
for language. Nowhere is there an
inescapable affront to the principle of
THE STUDY O F WESTERN CIV ILIZATI ON
IN TH E GENERAL" EDUCATION CURRICULUM
by John T. McNulty
No man can have a significant impact on
his own age, be it at the level of the
community or on the larger stages of state
and nation, who does not possess informed
beliefs and convictions, for without them
he will neither initiate nor support
causes for the betterment of society.
If his convictions are founded upon
misconceptions, half-truths, or a narrow
view of reality, the impact of the
individual will be more often harmful
than beneficial. We are all aware that
some of humanity's greatest crimes have
been committed by well-meaning people of
deep convictions who were lacking in that
breadth of knowledge and its products,
understanding and wisdom, which might have
tempered their actions.
To lay the foundation of the kind of
knowledge I have in mind is, I believe,
the ultimate purpose of a general
education curriculum. Convictions are a
necessity if we are to live a purposive
life, one with meaning for ourselves and
value for society. But those convictions
must be based upon truth; and truth is a
lifelong quest — one not achieved alone by
the bachelor's degree or the master's, or
even that of the doctor. However, the
formal studies undertaken in pursuit of
such degrees are the high road to a broad,
THE SEHSES OF CHILDHOOD
Goose pimple cold
of moist green garden snakes
before they crumple and dash.
in creaking cloakrooms.
The piercing palate chill
of maple nut cream
gobbled too soon.
in forest distance
at a green pool
with diving board.
bidding holy pauses
in the noontime hush
of locust days.
— Arnold Bartini
wide-ranging knowledge and the creating of
a mind that is open to truth. It is
fundamental that the truly educated man so
respects truth that he will admit of no
compromise, no matter how unwelcome truth
This is obviously a tremendously high goal
and one which I am not satisfied can be
fully realized without a significant
degree of spiritual motivation. In any
event, educators have no choice but to
push towards it with all the resources at
No means to this end is more important
than the study of Western civilization.
It gives the inquirer a general view of
the basic ideas and values which underlie
the way of life he has inherited, and a
comprehension of the great influences
which have changed the course of history,
his history: the Renaissance, the
Reformation, the Enlightenment, the
scientific revolution, the ideological
movements of the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries. Without knowledge of this
background, how can he judge the events of
his own time with perspective and wisdom?
Beyond this, the course in Western
Civilization reveals great men achieving,
likewise failing — and often succeeding in
the wake of failure. It provides the
student with examples drawn from life of
injustice, bigotry, and fanaticism as it
endows him with the historical insight to
analyze their tragic consequences. He
learns from contemplation of the Western
tradition that progress in human affairs
is generally, often agonizingly, slow.
He comes to know that, although the world
cannot be changed overnight, men of
courage and good will have made lasting
contributions to the welfare of their
In a word, the study of Western man's
struggle to attain a truly human way of
life is a fount of wisdom which it is
insane to overlook in the training of
Yet, as indicated above, no single course,
nor even an entire curriculum, can produce
of itself a balanced, rational, enlight-
ened human being. I hold such a one to
be, rather, the living issue of years of
study — either formal or informal —
integrated with experience, and the whole
reflected upon. I would be surprised to
see this blessed state achieved before age
forty, or even fifty, for man's passions
can be kept from clouding his reason only
after years of unremitting effort.
But the process has to begin somewhere,
and I contend that at the college level it
best begins with the study of Western
experience, wherein are found the
dominating influences and pivotal events
which have given shape to modern life.
Only in this context may all that is
learned in other disciplines be understood
This last is primary. Unless knowledge
and experience harmonize in the life of
reason and cumulate into a compelling
vision of truth and certitude, the
educated man cannot act with a sense of
conviction in support of positions and
causes which are difficult and often
Let these reflections speak for the value
of the study of Western civilization as a
critical element in the general education
curriculum from which a college student
hopes to gain an understanding of the
world in which he lives.
Samples of Sarah Clarke's Newsweek Watch.
The full version is at the library desk.
"Sadat in Israel." November 28, pp. 36-
46. Cover story of the historic first
official visit of an Arab leader to Israel
since the birth of that nation in 1948.
Subsequent coverage of the Mideast crisis:
December 5, pp. 24-34
December 12, pp. 51-53
December 19, pp. 20-22
December 26, pp. 73-74
January 2, pp. 12-14
January 9, pp. 28-31
January 16, pp. 40-47
January 30, pp. 41-49
February 13, pp. 37-40
February 20, pp. 35-38
"Texas! The Superstate." September 12,
pp. 36-46. After years of tall tales and
crude excesses, the state of the Union
(and acknowledged state of mind) called
Texas has become an economic and cultural
"How Men Are Changing." January 16, pp.
52-61. The habits of male supremacy,
although deeply ingrained in the macho
image, are slowly giving way to a much
fuller range of sensibilities.
"Hail and Farewell." January 23, pp. 16-
24. The nation's tribute to Hubert H.
Humphrey, dead of cancer at the age of 66.
"Lord of the Piano." January 23, pp. 62-
68. In a golden age of young virtuoso
pianists, 73-year-old Vladimir Horowitz
maintains an unchallenged reputation as a
master of musical nuance.
"Crisis in the Liberal Arts." February 6,
pp. 69-70. Job-oriented education strips
grads of ability for ordinary discourse.
Arnold Bartiui, Assistant Professor of
English, is a longtime student of the
work of Robert Frost.
Samuel H. Clarke is Associate Professor
Sarah Clarke is Head of the Circulation
Department and Librarian of the Teacher
Resources Center in the college library,
Michael Haines, Assistant Professor of
English, is a medievalist, freelance
journalist, and outdoorsman.
Richard C. Lamb, Mayor of North Adams, is
a 1971 graduate of Williams College, cum
laude in history.
Charles A. Mclsaac, Director of Library
Services, pursues an avocational interest
in problems of the environment.
John T. McNulty, Associate Professor of
History, has a major commitment to the
implications of the Western tradition.